Well-rounded effort lifts Bulldogs to 27-6 victory
     2011-09-08      By Terry Gaston   
photo by Spectrum Photo: Wide receiver Danny O'Boyle makes one of his two touchdown receptions in Friday's game against Holdrege. The Gering Bulldogs remain undefeated having won the first two games of the season with a fin 
Make no mistake, the Gering football team's 441-yard balanced offensive performance resulted in a 27-6 victory Friday night over Holdrege in Jimmie Rhodes' home head coaching debut at Memorial Stadium.

At the same time, the Bulldogs' defensive and special team efforts were as significant in the victory in shutting down the Dusters' potent rushing attack and turn the momentum by thwarting numerous Holdrege special team efforts.

Sophomore quarterback Dillon DeMott threw for four touchdowns and 235 yards to fuel Gering's offense, which took a little while to get going but once it did, the Bulldogs found themselves ahead 14-0 at halftime.

Two of those TD passes went to senior Danny O'Boyle, who also had two big pass break-ups in the first half to keep the visiting Dusters off kilter.

"Our young men really were ready," Rhodes said. "This really was the biggest game of the season, and to see them come out tonight and play like they did was fun. I'm glad to see the guys play hard against a very good Holdrege team."

Holdrege had the early momentum and outgained Gering 79 total yards to 65 in the scoreless first quarter, including 43 on the ground by senior Taylor Jurgens.

After senior Mark Pieper had carried the ball five times for 38 yards through the Bulldogs' first two series, Rhodes inserted junior James Guzman, whose first carry went for 26 yards and had 49 yards on four rushes to set up Gering's first scoring drive.
After DeMott recovered a bad pitch, he found junior Zac Bibb open for a 21-yard touchdown play with 7:55 left in the second quarter, and sophomore Gage Smith's extra-point kick gave the Bulldogs a 7-0 lead.

"We've got to find guys breaks if we can give them some rest," Rhodes said of switching tailbacks on the drive. "We took Mark out so he could play defense, and for Guz to slash and make plays make plays was what we needed to give us a spark."

The Dusters then chewed up 69 yards on the drive following the Bulldogs' first score. But O'Boyle also broke up his second pass from Dusters senior quarterback Kyle Exstrom. Holdrege drove to the Bulldog 11 but went away scoreless when Exstrom's field goal attempt went wide right.

A Pieper fumble with 47 seconds left in the half gave Holdrege possession at its own 41, and three incomplete passes later -- including a knockdown by Bulldog junior Austin Ferguson -- the Dusters tried an ill-fated fake punt.

Senior up-man Doug Smith was dropped at the 36 by Pieper, and three passes later DeMott found O'Boyle open over the middle for the 36-yard TD play for a 14-0 Gering lead with 9.1 seconds left before halftime.

The Bulldogs held Holdrege to 61 second-quarter yards and had a 225-140 advantage at halftime after amassing 160 second-period yards. The Dusters were held to 45 second-half yards and remained alive only because of two Jurgens kickoff returns of 74 and 75 yards.
DeMott got his passing game going hard and heavy in the third quarter as well, hitting 7 of 10 passes for 140 yards in the period. Two passes went for scores, the first on a 28-yard rollout pass for a TD to O'Boyle to end Gering's first drive of the half, and the last with 10 seconds left in the third quarter on a 22-yard strike to senior Dillon Wademan.

The Bulldogs' final touchdown came after Jurgens' 74-yard kickoff return to the Gering 6. But the Bulldogs held off the Dusters' threat, with O'Boyle knocking down Exstrom's fourth-down pass. And Gering answered by driving 97 yards on 12 plays for the knockout score.

Holdrege then set up shop at the Bulldogs 14 after Jurgens' 75-yard, quarter-ending kickoff return. The Dusters needed seven plays and a Gering holding penalty but finally got on the scoreboard with Jurgens' 1-yard run with 8:19 remaining. Exstrom's kicking woes continued when his extra-point try fell short.

DeMott celebrated his birthday by completing 13 of 21 passes for his four TDs and 235 yards.

"We never talk about how old somebody is," Rhodes said. "For our guys to lean on him is awesome. He isn't afraid to sling it."

O'Boyle had five receptions for 105 yards and two TDs, and Wademan had 58 yards on four catches. The Bulldogs gained 206 rushing yards, led by Pieper's 96 yards on 17 carries and Guzman's 53 yards on 5 rushes.

Jurgens gained 59 yards on 23 carries for Holdrege, while Exstrom completed 10 of 22 passes for 185 yards.

"It was good to see our offensive line step up," Rhodes said. (Senior) Kyle Peters stepped in to play guard, and we ran the ball and threw the ball well, and we played great defense tonight.”

Gering takes to the road Friday night for a 7 p.m. contest against Chadron. The Cardinals (1-1) rolled at Torrington 46-8 last week after opening the season with a 14-7 loss to Alliance.


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